Veteran defensive end Jadeveon Clowney chose to stay put this offseason by re-signing with the Cleveland Browns, and he revealed Thursday that part of the reason he made his decision was the team's acquisition of quarterback Deshaun Watson.
"I thought I played well here last year, and I feel like I can get better and pick off from what I did last year," Clowney told reporters. "Then my boy came here, Deshaun."
Clowney and Watson were former teammates together with the Houston Texans. The 29-year-old edge-rusher said he was waiting to make his decision this offseason based on where Watson landed.
"I was all about where my boy Deshaun was going," Clowney said. "I just wanted to go play with him and see what I can do with him again."
The Browns acquired Watson from the Texans in March in exchange for three first-round picks after a very public pursuit of the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback that also included the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers as potential suitors.
"I told him if he goes [to Cleveland] then I will follow him over here," Clowney said. "That's what it came down to."
It will likely take some time before Clowney and Watson are on the field together. There is a likelihood that Watson will face a suspension this season after 24 women filed civil cases against him accusing him of sexual assault or misconduct.
While playing on a one-year deal in 2021, Clowney enjoyed a productive season for the Browns. He racked up 37 total tackles with nine sacks and two forced fumbles. He re-signed with Cleveland on another one-year contract worth up to $10 million. Alongside All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett, Clowney remains a part of one of the best pass-rushing tandems in the NFL.
"Me and [Garrett] did some good things together,'' Clowney said. "We got along well. We played well together. We fed off each other. We're going to do the same thing this year, even better. ... We got a good thing going from last year. We want to keep it going this year."